OTAs Are Good… But Direct Bookings are Any Day Better!
The popularity of OTAs has been mainly because of the fact that travelers were getting tired of looking up for multiple hotels on the internet. To bring in the convenience factor and to help reduce the steps of search, OTAs sprouted. OTAs also racked up significant advantage by marketing using all online promotion techniques like Google AdWords, PPC campaigns etc.
However, commissions to OTAs can range from 15-25% and independent hotels have always been looking for a way out of it to save costs. There have been news here and there that commissions would be reduced by OTAs but it has not happened yet.
But, with TripAdvisor’s TripConnect that launched in October 2013, hotels see a ray of hope to decrease their dependability on OTAs. To understand TripConnect, better, let’s understand TripAdvisor first:
TripAdvisor – A Vast Network
According to TripAdvisor, over 260 million unique users plan their travel on TripAdvisor each month. That’s over 6,000 unique users looking at hotel reviews every second of every day which means if your hotel is listed on TripAdvisor and has few good reviews, then this is the easiest way to get bookings to your hotel.
How does TripConnect Work?
TripConnect lets your hotel compete with OTAs on TripAdvisor by placing bids. It displays real-time room rates and availability. So, instead of travelers booking via OTA sites, it lets them book directly from your site.
– Your hotel needs to have a TripAdvisor business listing to use TripConnect.
– TripConnect works on a bidding model, basically through a cost-per-click campaign. Hoteliers need to use the TripAdvisor Auction platform and bid for bookings.
– Once you place bids, your hotel’s official site icon appears as an option alongside the OTAs on your hotel’s TripAdvisor page.
– Only if a traveler clicks on your official link and comes to your website to book, do you pay the bid price to TripAdvisor.
What Should Hoteliers Know About TripConnect:
– Get a Web Booking Engine: In order to sign up for TripConnect, your hotel needs a TripAdvisor certified internet booking engine.
– Sign Up: You get the maximum features of TripConnect with signing up. For e.g. The Review Express feature where you can send automated mails to guests who have stayed in your hotel to post reviews on TripAdvisor.
– Set the Right Price: As per TripBarometer Global Report of April 2014, 95% of global travelers indicate price is an important factor in choosing an accommodation. Ensure that your room rates are competitive.
– Try to Reach the First Position: Ensure that you bid aggressively to reach the first position as OTAs are also as aggressive. Travelers are most likely to click on the first position.
Integration with Hotelogix
Hotelogix and TripConnect’s combination lets you showcase your web booking engine rates on TripAdvisor.
If you are already subscribed to TripAdvisor business listings, you may simply get connected to Hotelogix, a TripAdvisor certified Internet booking engine to provide real-time room availability information and online booking feature to your guests.
TripConnect will certainly drive guests to the hotel’s website which will give hoteliers an advantage to reduce dependency on OTAs and get better controls of the online distribution channel. So, make the right choice and see what best suits your hotel. (Also Read: TripAdvisor to Integrate Hotel Bookings Via Mobile)